Jordan imposes strict 4-day curfew after citizens ignore virus warnings

A Jordanian policeman stands guard in front of Al-Husseini Mosque in Amman on Friday after closing it to worshipers amid concerns over the coronavirus disease spread. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 March 2020

Jordan imposes strict 4-day curfew after citizens ignore virus warnings

  • Military vehicles stationed on streets to enforce, provide medical care and emergency assistance
  • Jordan’s army sealed off the capital from the rest of the country on Thursday to put its 10 million people on lockdown

AMMAN: Jordan will impose a strict curfew from 7 a.m. on Saturday until Tuesday, March 24 after citizens ignored government warnings over the coronavirus outbreak to stay at home.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz’s order followed his declaration of martial law in the country on March 18.
Col. Basheer Al-Daaja, former spokesman for the Jordanian police, told Arab News that the premier’s curfew decision should have come as no surprise.
“The prime minister had warned that if undisciplined people would not stay home, he would be obliged to use his authority and place the country under lockdown.
“This curfew applies to persons walking or in their vehicles and means that many important private and public institutions will not be guarded. I expect that the security forces will be deploying troops to guard these locations,” he said.
The Jordanian army would be unlikely to show any tolerance toward anyone violating the curfew, the colonel added.
On Friday, military vehicles were being stationed on streets to enforce the lockdown and provide medical care and emergency assistance where needed.
Amman resident Mohammed Abu Safieh told Arab News that grocery shops and bakeries in the east of the capital were packed on Friday evening as residents flocked to buy supplies. “This caused massive crowding which in itself defeats the idea of social distancing,” he said.

FASTFACT

The round-the-clock curfew will be in force until further notice to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus in Jordan, the government announced.

Jordanian security experts said that the pre-curfew rush had mostly involved people who had failed to heed government warnings about virus measures over recent days.
Razzaz said a crisis committee established on Jan. 24, had taken 132 decisions aimed at protecting Jordanians from the coronavirus outbreak which has so far infected 69 people in the country.
Amjad Adaileh, Jordan’s minister for media affairs, said that 4,892 people who had recently arrived in the country from abroad were under mandatory 14-day quarantine in 34 hotels in Amman and around the Dead Sea coast.
Adnan Abu Odeh, adviser to the late King Hussein and King Abdullah II, praised Razzaz and the Jordanian leadership for their handling of the ongoing crisis.
“Prime Minister Razzaz has done the logical work that should be done in such a circumstance. He and his team have followed the WHO (World Health Organization) protocols very closely. So far so good,” he said.
In an address to Jordanians, Razzaz said: “If the government errs, we will have the courage to make the needed corrections.”


Syria Kurdish-led force launches new anti-Daesh campaign

Updated 21 min 9 sec ago

Syria Kurdish-led force launches new anti-Daesh campaign

  • Operations will focus on the vast east Syria desert near the border with Iraq

BEIRUT: US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria announced Friday a fresh campaign to hunt down remnants of the Daesh group near the Iraqi border following a recent uptick in attacks.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led paramilitary alliance that has spearheaded the ground fight against Daesh in Syria since 2015, said that the new campaign is being carried out in coordination with the Iraqi army and the US-led coalition.
“This campaign will target ISIS’s hideouts and hotbeds,” it said, using a different acronym for the militant group.
It said operations will focus on the vast east Syria desert near the border with Iraq where Daesh has conducted a spate of attacks in recent months.
Since the loss of its last territory in Syria in March 2019, Daesh attacks have been restricted to the vast desert that stretches from the heavily populated Orontes valley in the west all the way to Iraqi border.
It regularly targets SDF forces and has vowed to seek revenge for the defeat of its so-called “caliphate”.
The SDF, with backing from its coalition allies, launched a campaign to hunt down sleeper cells after it forced Daesh militants out of their last Syrian redoubt in the desert hamlet of Baghouz in March 2019.
A raid in October by US special forces killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant group which once controlled large swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
Last month, the United Nations accused the Daesh group and others in Syria of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to step up violence on civilians, describing the situation as a “ticking time-bomb”.
Across the border in Iraq, Daesh has exploited a coronavirus lockdown, coalition troop withdrawals and simmering political disputes to ramp up attacks.
Iraq declared Daesh defeated in late 2017 but sleeper cells have survived in remote northern and western areas, where security gaps mean the group wages occasional attacks.
They have spiked since early April as militants plant explosives, shoot up police patrols and launch mortar and rocket fire at villages.